Editor’s note: Dave “Dr. Shock” Becker is a host on Horror Movie Podcast, Universal Monsters Cast and Land of the Creeps horror podcasts. He is also the mastermind behind DVDInfatuation.com, a movie review blog where he is watching and posting one review every day until he reaches at least 2,500 movie reviews. Follow Doc on Twitter: @DVDinfatuation.
There are certain preconceptions that cannot be avoided when you hear a title like “Killbillies.” I know, because I had them myself. But take everything that popped into your head when you first read that title and throw it out the window.
For one, Killbillies is not a comedy. It is a deadly serious horror film.
Second, it is not set in Wrong Turn country, nor does it feature anyone who lives in the same neighborhood as the yokels from Deliverance. Killbillies is set in Slovenia. That’s right — Slovenia.
And if some sources on the Internet are to be believed, it is the very first feature-length horror film ever to emerge from that Central European Republic.
So, now that I’ve told you what this 2015 movie is not, let me tell you what it is:
Killbillies is a somewhat predictable horror film that was clearly inspired by such classics as The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes, yet thanks to its unique setting and a handful of truly brutal sequences, there’s enough here to, at the very least, make it worth your while.
Though she’s decided to get out of the profession altogether, fashion model Zina (Nina Ivanisin) signs on for one last photo shoot, and with fellow model Mia (Nika Rozman), makeup artist Dragica (Manca Ogorevc), and moody photographer Blitzc (Sebastian Cavazza), she travels deep into the wilderness, where the picturesque mountains will serve as the perfect backdrop for their photos.
But before Zina and the others can get any real work done, they’re approached by a pair of deformed locals, Francl (Lotos Sparovec) and Vintlr (Jurij Drevensek), who, after knocking Blitcz out, drag the four off to a remote location and lock them in a dank basement. Realizing these sadistic hillbillies have no intention of letting them go, Zina formulates an escape plan, all the while wondering why they were kidnapped in the first place.
It’s a basic set-up, and while the Slovenian movie-going public may have never seen something like this before, horror fans from most other countries know what to expect the moment they see Francl and Vintlr walking down that hill. Along with being a bit obvious, “Killbillies” features a chase sequence that fills the majority of the movie’s second half, and is far too long for its own good (despite a few tense moments I found my attention waning as this chase seemingly dragged on forever).
Yet while Killbillies certainly has its problems, there are things about the movie that impressed me. First off, the setting is magnificent; the mountains that fill the background of most scenes are stunning, and to see such brutality play out in this idyllic location was a new experience for me. Also, the reason why Zina and her pals get abducted (which is revealed in one of the movie’s more grotesque scenes) is a definite surprise. I also liked the look of the hillbillies, whose mutated features reminded me of the baddies in the 2006 remake of The Hills Have Eyes.
More than anything, though, Killbillies proves to be as blood-soaked as many of the movies that inspired it, with gore sequences that, while not flawless (it’s sometimes easy to spot the make-up), look pretty darn good (one scene in particular, which features a beheading, is handled perfectly by director Gorkic, who shows us just enough to make this kill effective).
A routine yet interesting bit of bloody mayhem with a very unfortunate title, Killbillies is a movie that most horror fans will likely enjoy, and the gorehounds will absolutely love.
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